Why Does My Home’s Backup Generator Keep Shutting Off?

Most homeowners who are smart enough to invest in a backup generator for their home can rest easy knowing that they have a plan in place when the elements take a turn for the worst or the power goes out unexpectedly. However, what happens when your backup plan fails? Here are a few troubleshooting tips to keep your home’s backup generator running and live life uninterrupted.


One of the most common reasons your home’s backup generator keeps shutting off is because it’s being overloaded. To avoid an overload situation, it’s critical that you are not running more equipment on your generator than its rated capacity. This can be done by checking the manufacturer’s specifications and ensuring that the total load of all appliances connected to your generator does not exceed the maximum wattage listed. If it does, shut off the generator, remove any unneeded appliances, and restart it. Doing this will help to avoid costly repairs as well as increase the lifespan of your equipment.

Fuel Level

If your generator only runs briefly before shutting off, check your fuel levels to make sure it has enough to run correctly. To avoid low fuel levels, make sure that the fuel tank is always full before running your generator. Alternatively, you can install a generator powered by natural gas or liquid propane, which can provide consistent fuel even if the utility fails in extreme circumstances. With this in mind, you should consider all available fueling options when selecting a generator.

Oil Level

Oil levels that are too low can cause significant damage to your generator. In newer models, a low oil shutoff sensor may automatically kill the engine to prevent running with no oil — which can be why your home’s generator keeps shutting off. To check if you have low oil levels, use the dipstick provided. If the level is low but the oil looks clean, you can top it off with more oil. 

However, if the oil is dirty and low, an oil change is necessary to prevent further damage. Your generator may also display a low oil pressure alert even when the pressure is actually fine, which could indicate that your oil pressure sensor needs to be replaced. It’s critical to stay aware of your generator’s oil levels to keep it running safely.

Spark Plugs

If you notice your generator shutting off after a few seconds of running and hear a crackling noise, this could indicate dirty or faulty spark plugs. To fix the issue, it’s best to replace the spark plugs with new ones. However, if they are not too damaged, some spark plugs can be cleaned and re-installed, restoring them to like-new condition. It’s vital to be sure the spark plugs are adequately maintained to ensure your generator runs properly. 

Choke Position

The choke position is a critical step in starting a generator, as it restricts the amount of oxygen passing through the carburetor while increasing the flow of fuel. This helps to keep an appropriate balance between air and fuel for a successful startup. The choke should be set to full choke when first starting the generator, then moved to half choke after a few minutes, and finally to the run position. Failure to make these adjustments may result in an imbalance between air and fuel, leading to the backup generator shutting off.

Air Filter

A generator needs a steady flow of clean air in order to operate correctly. An air filter prevents dirt and debris from entering the engine while providing enough air to run effectively. If the filter becomes dirty or clogged, less air can pass through and enter the engine, resulting in your home’s generator shutting off. To fix this issue, the air filter needs to be cleaned or replaced to restore the airflow, ensuring that the engine receives enough clean air and can continue functioning optimally.

Contact Our Team Today to Troubleshoot Your Generator Issues

In order for you to live life uninterrupted, your home needs to rely on a steady source of power. If your backup generator keeps shutting off, it doesn’t just prevent you from running your appliances or keeping the lights on — it removes your peace of mind. If you’re experiencing any type of generator issue, from a generator that keeps shutting off to one that simply won’t kick on, reach out to our team immediately. We can help troubleshoot and recommend a prompt and effective repair solution. For more information or to inquire about our financing options, contact us today!